It just makes sense
THE GOOD
  • Flawless driving dynamics
  • Excellent powertrain
  • Status as an icon
THE BAD
  • Limited practicality
  • Lack of standard features

Like a Burberry trench coat, a Rolex watch, a quilted Chanel purse, or a piece of Eames furniture, the Porsche 911 just makes sense.

Backed by rich histories and living up to their illustrious reputations, these tributes to opulence and timeless design have stopped simply being luxury goods and have transcended into being iconic. They’re all lovingly crafted, have become synonymous with prestige and quality, and are known to be worth every penny of the eye-watering prices they demand.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet is but one model in a long lineup of 22 different variations of this sports car, but like all 911s, it does what it’s meant to do pretty much flawlessly. And the fact that the 911 has unlocked icon status means it deserves its place as the de facto Sports Car of Choice.

Power: 10/10

The 2022 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0L flat-six-cylinder engine situated behind the rear axle that cranks out 473 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Coming online between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm, thrust is almost always readily available, and when it’s not, Porsche’s snappy eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission drops a few gears quicker than a hot potato and sends you surging forward in no time at all.

One aspect that makes the 911 unique is that it’s one of the only sports cars still available with a manual transmission that can be configured with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Upgrading to Porsche’s excellent automatic – known as the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) in Stuttgart speak – is also a no-cost option, which is cool. [The same is true of the marvellous Mazda MX-5, for those looking for a more affordable drop-top sports car. – Ed.]

With the seven-speed manual, the sprint to 100 km/h takes 4.3 seconds with the Sport Chrono package; the PDK cuts that time to 3.5 seconds. There’s no need to even mention this, but the 911 GTS is exceedingly quick and you’ll never find yourself wishing you had more power. Flip the active exhaust toggle and the notes transform from raspy but respectable into a much deeper howl that is always tempting you on to shove that pedal into the floor.

Driving Feel: 10/10

The GTS sits atop the 911 Carrera lineup, with only the absurd Turbo and track-focused GT3 models above it. Striking a balance between comfort and performance in the lineup, GTS models are meant to be suitable for both motorsports and long-distance cruising.

While it’s calibrated to be quite stiff even in its most relaxed setting, it’s never jarringly uncomfortable and the payoff in its handling is totally worth it. You might have heard that a rear-engine vehicle can be difficult to drive, but Porsche has so much technology optimizing and making constant adjustments that only the most ham-fisted driving will upset the 911’s balance. With the optional rear-axle steering that virtually shrinks the car’s wheelbase, the 911 GTS feels even more nimble than normal, diving into corners enthusiastically and sprinting out of them with confidence and poise.

The 911 GTS’s steering is a highlight. Laser-accurate, communicative, and immediately responsive, it sets the standard for how steering should feel in every sports car. The steering’s weight makes it satisfying to use and its direct nature makes you feel like a boss. The brakes are strong and responsive without being twitchy. As a driver, you feel engaged on every level.

All the attributes that make the 911 a good sports car are also what makes it a decent winter driver, too. With a useful driving mode for slippery surfaces that helps keep aggression in check, the 911 feels sure-footed and easy to control on snow-covered roads after the plows have had a chance to remove most of the volume.

Driving the 911, all the lore surrounding it just makes sense. Mostly everything you’ll hear about how good the driving experience feels is true. There’s nothing else out there that delivers this level of consistent, approachable, balanced, and buttoned-down performance that both experienced drivers and those new to sports cars can enjoy. No matter your skill level, the 911 GTS makes you feel like a hero. Piloting this sports car, each individual component works together in such harmony and cohesion that you get the sense one single highly skilled genius lovingly worked on it from start to finish.

Style: 8/10

I’m not a huge fan of convertibles in the first place, so this is highly subjective, but I think the coupe version of the 911 is much more attractive from the back and easily gets full points in the style category. Something about how the convertible looks from the back with the top down is still very awkward to me.

I do, however, love the satin black wheels and how the hood stripes extend onto the soft top. Porsche offers several options to customize the 911 so yours can be as flashy or low-key as you please.

Inside, the only major complaint I have about the design is all the piano black used on the centre console. It took only four days for it to become unbearably dusty. Otherwise, it feels like a very well-designed, if very serious, cabin full of luxury touches and durable materials.

Comfort: 8/10

The suspension is very stiff (worth it), and you have to be sort of flexible to enter and exit gracefully (this is a very low sports car, after all), and there’s really no room for any humans in the back seats; but once the front two seats are occupied and everyone’s buckled in, the seats are comfortable and supportive.

The noise level, as expected, is a bit higher than in a hardtop car because of the cloth roof, so you’ll have to turn the music up to compensate on the highway, but it wasn’t as loud as I expected it to be during testing. You have to keep your finger on the roof trigger while the top is coming down or going up, but the whole process takes less than 15 seconds and the roof can be operated at speeds of up to 50 km/h.

Practicality: 6/10

While it’s available with rear-wheel drive, my tester was equipped with all-wheel drive and a set of excellent winter tires, making it more suitable for Canadian weather, though as experienced during one of the worst snowstorms in the past few decades, that ground clearance just won’t cut it through a rare snowmageddon. That’s not a knock against this 911, but a shortcoming with sports cars in general. I love the heroes who are committed to driving their sports cars in the winter, but there are many instances where it just won’t work.

In a similar vein, the 911 is rear-engined and doesn’t have a traditional trunk. Instead, it offers a 132-L front storage compartment (a frunk, if you will) under the hood. While it’s rectangular and deep and can comfortably hold a weekend bag for two or a decent grocery haul, anything more substantial likely won’t fit. The rear seats are also separated by a bulge, so larger boxes or golf clubs can’t sit flat back there, either. And because it’s a 2+2, legroom in the rear is slim, so storage options are limited.

Small-item storage in the cabin is also abysmal. The shallow door pockets, comically European-sized single cup holder, and tiny centre console bin mean there’s nowhere to put a reusable water bottle or an easy place to stash your keys and wallet.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto need a wired connection, and the only USB ports are in the centre console storage bin. Even if you string the cable outside the console, there’s no cubby or convenient place to hold your phone, so it meant that I forgot my phone in the centre storage compartment more times than I’d like to admit.

One more small issue: I wasn’t able to lock the car without reaching for the key fob, which is often buried deep within my bag. I wish it would just lock itself as I walked away or tapped the sensor on the door handle.

Understanding that nobody buys a convertible sports car for its practicality, these are just minor issues that popped up during my time with the 911 Cabriolet, mainly because I don’t have a second vehicle. If you plan on using this 911 as a daily driver, these small issues might annoy you, too.

Features: 8/10

Because of its nature as one of the world’s leading sports cars, most of the available and standard features enhance the 911 GTS’s driving dynamics. It doesn’t come standard with much in terms of comfort and convenience features, but Porsche offers a long list of options that drivers can add if they have the means or desire.

Safety: 8/10

Unfortunately, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet does not come standard with many advanced safety features. Besides the normal suite of airbags and theft deterrent devices, the cabriolet adds safety bars that deploy automatically in the event of a rollover. The only piece of active safety tech is frontal collision warning and braking assist, but if drivers wish, they can outfit the 911 with all the latest safety technology the brand offers.

User Friendliness: 9/10

The 911 has a responsive and crisp touchscreen with many shortcuts and a series of analogue buttons that makes completing any task easy enough. Smartphone mirroring takes up most of the available screen real estate and the digital gauge cluster is easy to read and configure. Best of all, the cabin layout allows drivers to focus on driving, which is what this sports car is all about anyway.

Fuel Economy: 8/10

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet is officially rated at 13.7 L/100 km in the city, 10.7 on the highway, and 12.3 combined. After about 600 km of mixed driving, it was returning a fuel economy of 11.0 L/100 km of premium fuel. Keep in mind this test was done in a cold snap with sloppy weather and on winter tires, so better conditions will likely result in better fuel economy; but because of the weather, I wasn’t really giving law enforcement too much to pay attention to.

Value: 9/10

A common complaint I have with all Porsches is that the brand charges too much for options I think should be standard in most luxury vehicles, but every single one I’ve ever driven somehow manages to feel worth the asking price. The obsessive build quality, the brand prestige, the high-tech wizardry, and the flawless powertrains are what you’re paying for, and you get plenty of that for the money.

Personally, I’m not a convertible person (I’m pale and burn easily), so I’d opt for the coupe version of this exact car, which ends up starting at $14,600 less than the cabriolet, which starts at $173,700 plus taxes and the $1,500 destination fee. With all the endless upgrades, customizations, and options Porsche offers, this particular model carries a sticker price of $204,565.

The Verdict

When I was a kid, the Porsche 911 was my dream car. As I grew up, the 911 got replaced in my dream car garage by newer, flashier, and faster sports cars. In my mind, the 911 became the boring choice, but now that I’m no longer a dummy (I hope so, anyway), it has rightfully reclaimed its spot at the top of my dream car list. It might not be the most flashy or extreme car for the money, but owning an icon just makes sense, especially when it’s this good. The Porsche 911 has earned its status as an icon and is doing absolutely everything it can to keep it that way without diluting what makes it so great in the first place. Living at the intersection of history and innovation, the Porsche 911 GTS continues to set the worldwide benchmark for sports car excellence.

Competitors

Specifications

Engine Displacement 3.0L   Model Tested 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet
Engine Cylinders Turbo H6   Base Price $173,700
Peak Horsepower 473 hp   A/C Tax $100
Peak Torque 420 lb-ft   Destination Fee $1,500
Fuel Economy 13.7 / 10.7 / 12.3 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb   Price as Tested $204,665
Cargo Space 132 L  
Optional Equipment
$29,365 – Chalk paint, $3,730; leather in slate grey with Chalk stitching, $5,170; rear-axle steering, $2,390; Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, $3,610; embossed Porsche crest on headrests, $330; seat ventilation, $960; interior matte carbon fibre trim, $960; adaptive cruise control, $2,280; hood stripes, $1,995; adaptive sport seats with 18-way memory package, $3,460; puddle lights, $190; Premium Package (surround view, storage package, electric folding side mirrors, ambient lighting, lane change assist, Bose surround sound), $4,290